NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Occupy Wall Street protesters, who have repeatedly asserted their rights to free speech and lawful assembly, are being put on legal notice themselves.
"I understand the right of lawful assembly... we all understand it," said Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins. "I just hope that the protesters understand that police officers don't go to work to be punching bags, and if that does occur, we're going to hold people accountable."
WCBS 880's Marla Diamond With Ed Mullins
Assaulting an officer is a felony, but Mullins says he's telling union attorneys to pursue monetary damages as well if they are attacked.
Mullins is concerned protesters may be emboldened by the recent rash of violence against officers. He says 20 officers have been injured in New York City in Occupy Wall Street-related incidents.
Mullins told 1010 WINS that while neither the police nor protests encourage or want violence, not everyone's actions can be controlled.
"Organizers of the protesters they sit down and they explain their point -- that's done everyday, that's great, but they won't be able to control 1,000 people, just like the NYPD with all its rules and governance can't control the act of one individual either," Mullins told 1010 WINS.
The move comes the day after protesters swarmed the streets near City Hall as a show of solidarity for their counterparts in California Wednesday night.
Oakland, Calif., demonstrator Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, says he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister thrown by police. Officers say they were trying to clear the plaza because of sanitary concerns when protesters assaulted responding officers.
The demonstrators marched around the gates of City Hall chanting slogans like "March with Oakland," before returning to Zuccotti Park.
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